It was a cold January morning. Mirnes and his cousin, Nedzad Seljuble, had gone to the woods to collect some firewood for their families. Then a sudden explosion cut through the silent forest. A mine had detonated, leaving Mirnes and Nedzad heavily injured. Mirnes had to have some of the muscle tissue from his feet grafted to his arm to be able to regain the use of his arms. However, it was too late for Nedzad and he passed a couple of hours later in a hospital room.
It’s been almost 20 years since the war ended in Bosnia, but that doesn't mean that the terrible fighting has stopped claiming lives every day with mines buried underground. These explosions took more than 1,000 lives, of which 237 were children and 1,700 people were injured because of the mines. And it is not all; 46 security officers lost their lives in their efforts to remove mines, while 37 more were injured.
According to estimates, half of the Bosnian population lives in areas that are susceptible to such explosions. 1,670 mines have gone off since the end of the war and there are still some 200,000 mines buried, ready to explode over a huge area covering 1,340 km2. It means that 920,000 people have to face this threat to their lives on a daily basis. Officials have maps showing the locations of the mines. However, the flood that hit Bosnia in May rendered most of those maps useless. The flooding and the subsequent landslides shifted the mines in the northeastern part of the country; although they might have moved only 100 or 200 meters, it is possible that some of them were washed away completely to unknown locations. For this reason, a Bosnian woman trying to pick some mushrooms or a child collecting firewood might unknowingly step on one. The danger Bosnia faces now is bigger and closer.
There is a campaign organized by the BH MAC (the Bosnia Herzegovina Mine Action Center) to de-mine the Bosnian lands and it was planned to completely de-mine the country by 2019. This is really a difficult project. 300 million Euro is needed for this demining operation, and there are already obstacles preventing that money from coming. This means more innocent people will lose their lives due to mines.
300 million Euros may be considered to be a vast amount at first glance; however, it is food for thought knowing that the sum of non-vital expenditures of many people are much more than this. For instance, in Turkey which is not a very rich state, the projected expenses made by travellers outside the country for tourist purposes is about 1.5 billion Euros. The loss to the country’s economy in wasted bread is 700 million dollars. This means if only for six months bread is not wasted in Turkey, the savings from that effort would be adequate for demining in Bosnia. There could be many other examples from various countries in that regard.
As seen in the statistical data, many countries actually possess the required resources for providing a great deal of needs. Resources wasted in rich countries due to a lack of proper undertakings for their use are therefore not delivered to people who are in need.
A good proportion of people exploit their means in an inconsiderate manner. For that reason, they cannot appreciate the value of their belongings and are almost in assurance that they will never encounter poverty throughout their lives. However the future is not known to us, and , they could easily find themselves as a poor and helpless person in need. Yet many of them live in a daily bliss totally ignorant of this possibility and never caring for the millions of people who are in deprivation and hunger.
While an Arab sheikh could spend 300,000 dollars for a falcon as a pet in a corner of our world, he never gives a second thought that the same amount of money could be used for clearing mines on 1,340,000 square meters of land in Bosnia.
It is possible to eliminate the distress caused by such immoral conduct: To raise a generation who is aware that they will account for how they have used the existing opportunities provided for them. A conscientious person would surely refrain from extravagance, make use of his allowances attentively, and distribute what is more than required to the poor in need of help.
People of good morality and wisdom limit any expenditure that could be wasted with practical solutions and therefore overcome many problems. In this way, impoverishment in various parts of the world could be eradicated and issues based on lack of finances would be resolved. What is most important in relation with these matters is to direct the world’s potential more efficiently to places where spending would be most auspicious regardless of religion, language or race and preventing wastage in its entirety.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Bosnia Times: